Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Old Ship of Zion" (The Happy Sailor)

Dr. B.J. Reagon last performance wSweet Honey in the Rock. Dr.. Bernise Johnson Reagon's last performance with Sweet Honey in the Rock. Performing 'Old Ship of Zion' live at a concert at the Warner theater in Washington, D.C.

Rev C.L Franklin(Aretha Franklin's father) - "The Old Ship Of Zion"

Sacred Harp 388 The Happy Sailor Coker UMC Hour 3 San Antonio Texas 1991 Denison Revision.mp4

From John Bealle's liner notes to a CD of the National Sacred Harp Convention singing their version of the song - “The Happy Sailor” (388) [led by] Seth Holloway, Nashville TN

C. J. Griggs (1911) | Arr. B. F. White (1859) Seth Holloway is in the music business in Nashville and was chair of the Young People’s Convention when the singing was hosted in that city. He is descended through his mother Sarah Smith from the singing Beasley family of Marion County, Alabama. His uncle Joe Beasley (1929- 1995) made some important recordings of Sacred Harp beginning during the 1950s that were recently released on compact disk. Beasley moved from Alabama to New York City and was a pivotal figure in the Sacred Harp revival there during the years before his death in 1995. In Beasley’s honor, a scholarship fund has been established that is awarded to young Sacred Harp singers to help with college expenses. _ Benjamin Franklin White (1800-1879) was the chief compiler of The Sacred Harp. In 1842 he moved his family from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Harris County, Georgia. It was there that White, having contributed in some now-unknown capacity to William Walker’s Southern Harmony, set about to compile his own book. Along with The Sacred Harp, his chief contribution to religious song was the founding of the Southern Musical Convention (1845), thereby setting in motion the practice of democratically-organized singing conventions that has endured continuously since then. _ The tune of this song was arranged by B. F. White for the 1859 edition of The Sacred Harp; singer C. J. Griggs of Atlanta contributed the second and third verses. Griggs was a steadfast supporter of old sacred songs through the period when many turned to gospel music, and served J. S. James as assistant president of the United Convention in its early years. _According to James, the author of the original verse of the text is unknown. Both text and tune have circulated widely in variants under the title “The Old Ship of Zion,” notably as an African-American spiritual. As a spiritual, the most famous printed setting is surely the transcription by Lucy McKim in the book Slave Songs of the United States (1867), pp. 102-3. See: Jackson, Spiritual Folksongs, song #210. Information on C. J. Griggs is from the 1911 James footnote to “The Happy Sailor.” Joe Beasley’s recording is the Joe Beasley Memorial Sacred Harp Album: Northwestern Alabama 1954~1976~1977~1978, produced by Jean Seiler, 1999.

John Beale 2003 Liner notes. Traditional Musics of Alabama, Volume 3: 2002 National Sacred Harp Singing Convention. CD. Alabama Traditions 203, produced by the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture.

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